17 Jul 2015

Council cops flak for dumping waste company

7:58 pm on 17 July 2015

An iwi in Northland is warning that a council decision to dump its contract with a waste management company will have dire consequences for the rohe.

The Far North District Council has terminated its contract with its waste management company.

The Far North District Council has terminated its contract with its waste management company. Photo: Wikicommons

The Far North District Council has terminated its contract with Cleanstream in favour of a cheaper service provider.

Cleanstream is jointly owned by iwi organisation Te Rūnanga O Te Rārawa and the Community Business and Environment Centre.

Runanga chair Haami Piripi said the iwi were advised of the decision just two hours before it was to be announced on the council's website.

Mr Piripi said that gave them little time to inform Cleanstream's 30 staff members about the decision.

"There's going to be job losses, the successful tenderer will take on some staff, how many, who knows? So some staff will be rehired, but there will be significant job losses," he said.

"I think everyone is a little bit surpised, shocked and stunned."

He said the decision was a blow to the hononga, or connection, between the council and iwi.

"From a relationship perspective it's highly disappointing. There's this kind of relationship that does exist with Te Rarawa and the Far North District Council. The council should have a relationship with the community and council should be very concerned about the environment," he said.

"With one simple decision those three areas have been impacted on quite significantly."

Mr Piripi said Cleanstream has had the contract for 10 years.

"In that time, certainly from an environmental, community and iwi perspective, we've contributed quite significantly to the area."

"We were able to recycle close to 70 per cent of all waste and rubbish collected, which meant there wasn't a great deal going to landfill. Whether that carries on, I don't know."

Green Party waste spokesperson Denise Roche said she had similar concerns.

Denise Roche.

Denise Roche. Photo: RNZ

"Cleanstream pioneered kerbside recycling in New Zealand and worked with Far North communities on very successful waste minimisation projects, including running educational projects in schools," she said.

"[It] displayed serious long-term dedication to reducing waste, recycling, and reusing. I hope that the new service provider Northland Waste - which has expertise mostly in bins, trucking, and landfill dumping - can fill the big shoes left behind by Cleanstream."

Ms Roche said the decision would also have a huge impact on the region's economy.

"The social enterprise has basically contributed a huge amount to the local economy and there's research that shows that for every dollar that you spend on a contract like this in a council you get like a four-fold benefit in the local economy."

The Far North District Council said on its website that a contract for the northern area of the region will be issued to Northland Waste Ltd for $4,615,000 and a southern contract to Waste Management Ltd for $4,683,000.

Both contracts take effect on October 1 this year and run to 30 September 2020, it said.